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US military officials chime in on personal debt of troops

Any member of a household that carries high balances of debt can understand the strain that debt can place on consumers. Cincinnati area residents should probably not be too surprised that large debt loads can place a strain on members of our Armed Forces. Officials at the Pentagon say that financial troubles are the leading source of anxiety among American troops. The officials say that anxiety over debt can top the anxieties that service members experience--and in some cases, creating more anxiety than war itself, according to Reuters.

News over the skyrocketing cost of an education is plentiful in today's world. Many consumer groups have voiced concerns over the burgeoning student debt load that Americans are taking on. The military is now also chiming in to raise its concerns over student loan debt.

Generally, student loans are rarely dischargeable in a bankruptcy proceeding. From time to time, a former student who owes the specialized form of debt may be able to meet the difficult standard recognized in bankruptcy proceedings to gain discharge of student debt, but the standard is generally a difficult burden to meet.

For our active service members, special protections are in place to protect our warriors from abusive debt collectors. But military officials say that our troops are not even immune from overzealous practices of bill collectors. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that financial trouble is the number one difficulty in receiving security clearance for our troops.

The wife of the CIA director is a top official with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She says that many service members were improperly foreclosed upon during their military service. Holly Petraeus says that "I think the problem may be greater with student loans than it was with mortgages," according to Reuters. She says that many more troops enter the military with outstanding student loans than those who have a mortgage.

Source: Reuters, "US military sounds alarm over mounting student loan debt," Oct. 18, 2012

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